EE Greenock Call Centre

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 29 February 2024.

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Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

8. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with BT Group/EE regarding the proposed closure of its Greenock call centre. (S6O-03149)

Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

I have written to BT Group to express my concern about its decision, and I have urged it to engage with stakeholders to consider all options to retain the jobs in Greenock. The Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, Richard Lochhead, has spoken to representatives of EE and BT and urged them to keep all options on the table, including maintaining a presence in Greenock. The minister also attended a meeting of the Inverclyde task force on 20 February and has discussed the proposed closure of the site with representatives of Inverclyde Council. The Scottish Government will continue to engage closely with all partners in Inverclyde as the situation develops. Earlier this week, I followed up on the meeting of the task force by sending it an invitation to meet me, given my new portfolio responsibilities.

Photo of Neil Bibby Neil Bibby Labour

About 450 people are employed at EE’s call centre in Greenock, whose work is set to be moved to Glasgow. In the past year alone, 1,000 jobs have been lost from the Inverclyde area because of site closures—most notably that of Amazon in Gourock.

Despite repeated calls having been made to it, the Scottish Government has so far provided not a penny of financial support in response to job losses over the past year. It has not responded to the calls of Inverclyde’s socioeconomic task force for more investment, which it made more than six months ago. If the Government will not provide that needed additional support now—in the face of this jobs crisis—when will it do so?

Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

Neil Bibby was absolutely right to outline successive closures and job losses in Greenock. I will engage with the Inverclyde task force on all the issues that he mentioned, to see whether the Government can do anything more to assist. The task force is dealing with the situation on the ground and is best placed to get into the weeds of what is going on there and liaise with the companies involved to try to retain some of the jobs in Greenock that are in jeopardy as a result of decisions that private companies have made.